‘Moving Stories’ dance concert showcases innovative work by student choreographers in a nationally acclaimed program

News Image Dance performance Nov. 7-9 displays talent of 12 young choreographers, with more than 60 dancers

By: Ashley Veglia '21  Wednesday, October 23, 2019 03:17 PM

News Image
Photos by Julieanne Harris

Allentown, Pa. (Oct. 22, 2019) — Muhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department presents “Moving Stories,” a showcase for dance works created by emerging choreographers, Nov. 7-9 in the College’s Baker Theatre.

Artistic Director Megan Flynn says the program “features original dances as diverse as the choreographers’ points of view and approaches to dancemaking – from narration in physical form to the poetic abstraction of a single idea.”

“Through collaboration and creative expression,” Flynn says, “talented advanced choreography students create works that explore the hustle and bustle of a daily commute, draw inspiration from the dynamics of the dinner table, or illuminate the human condition during challenging times.”

“Moving Stories” will showcase the work of 12 student choreographers, and feature more than 60 dancers from the department’s dance program, which is among the most highly regarded programs of its kind. The concert features costume and lighting designs by the department’s acclaimed professional staff.

The 12 original dances feature styles inspired by modern, jazz, tap, hip-hop, partnering work, and Gaga, a movement language developed by Batsheva Dance Company.

Choreographer Heather Downey ’20 derives influence for her piece from her appreciation of modern and tap dance. The piece includes both modern dancers and tap dancers, and the tap dancers provide the sound for the work.

“The rehearsal process is much different from anything I have done here because I have to navigate many pieces of choreography happening simultaneously,” Downey says. “I want the audience to have a strong sensory experience, and I want them to pick and choose what they decide to see and hear.”

Choreographer Maura O’Reilly ’20 created a piece inspired by the grief, despair, and hopelessness she sometimes felt as an adolescent in the face of ecological crisis. The piece derives choreographic patterns from storytelling moments, which O’Reilly hopes will help audiences understand the despair adolescents often feel in this age of climate uncertainty.

“We have had a lot of discussions around what it means and how it feels to be a young person in the face of this crisis and the sociopolitical impacts of the climate crisis on different people around the world,” O’Reilly says.

Choreographer Karlie Lynn Zabin ’20 explores an ’80s sci-fi inspired theme, sparked by the television show “Stranger Things.”

“I hope the audience is transported to a different world,” Zabin says. “Maybe it is the Upside Down, or an ’80s sci-fi universe, or a simulation. I hope they feel the textural qualities of the movement and music coinciding.”

Other featured choreographers include Heather Dutton, Greyson Gerdts, Lilianne Gering, Emi Giuseffi, Alex Goshert, Abigail Linnemeyer, Morgan Litzenberger, Hailey McMichael, and Ashley Veglia. Fangfei Miao serves as associate artistic director. Paul E. Theisen Jr. designs lights, and Lex Gurst designs costumes.

“Moving Stories” runs Nov. 7-9 in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Performances are Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7-8, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 9, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults; $8 for patrons 17 and under; and $8 for students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.  For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $13.

Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or muhlenberg.edu/dance. 

— 30 —

The Mainstage performance series is produced by Muhlenberg College's acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department, The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg's production program in the top 20 in the nation, including a No. 7 ranking in its current college guide. The Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theatre and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, sciences, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

To arrange an interview or photo opportunity with Megan Flynn or any of the student choreographers, please contact Scott Snyder, at 484-664-3693 or scottsnyder@muhlenberg.edu.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected preprofessional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.